Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. He writes columns for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and the New York Times international edition. 

Recent Articles

The Art of Stealing Elections

The Republicans are out to steal the 2004 election -- before, during, and after Election Day. Before Election Day, they are employing such dirty tricks as improper purges of voter rolls, use of dummy registration groups that tear up Democratic registrations, and the suppression of Democratic efforts to sign up voters, especially blacks and students. On Election Day, Republicans will attempt to intimidate minority voters by having poll watchers threaten criminal prosecution if something is technically amiss with their ID, and they will again use technical mishaps to partisan advantage. But the most serious assault on democracy itself is likely to come after Election Day. Here is a flat prediction: If neither candidate wins decisively, the Bush campaign will contrive enough court challenges in enough states so that we won't know the winner election night. The right stumbled on a gambit in 2000, which could become standard operating procedure in close elections: If the election ends up...

What Would Jefferson Do?

Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism By Susan Jacoby • Metropolitan Books • 432 pages • $27.50 Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Christians and Jews Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain By Maria Rosa Menocal • Back Bay Books • 272 pages • $26.95 The Pity of It All: A Portrait of The German-Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933 By Amos Elon • Metropolitan Books • 464 pages • $30.00 The Plot Against America: A Novel By Philip Roth • Houghton Mifflin Co. • 400 pages • $26.00 Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism By Abraham Foxman • Harper San Francisco • 320 pages • $24.95 One Electorate Under God? A Dialogue on Religion and Politics Edited by E.J. Dionne Jr., Jean Bethke Elshtain, Kayla M. Drogosz • Brookings Institution Press • 239 pages • $17.95 I. ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS The United States enjoys higher levels of religious observance than any Western nation with an official church. Yet the religious right and its political allies are far from satisfied. They...

How Kerry Can Win

John Kerry gained ground in the first two debates to the extent that he was tough and clear. He is credible as a tough leader on terrorism not based on how many times he uses the words "kill terrorists" but based on how tough he is in standing up for what he believes. To the extent that he evades difficult questions, Kerry looks weaker across the board. Just being resolute wins voter respect, even from those who may disagree with him on the issues. One thing the conservatives have done brilliantly is to make progressive Democrats feel embarrassed about their own first principles. The federal government has been turned into the enemy (except when George W. Bush wants to promote fantastical expeditions by the armed forces at the direction of the Defense Department, a branch of the government that is somehow seen as uniquely competent). For instance, when Bush claimed in the St. Louis debate that Kerry wanted a "government program" for health insurance, I was waiting for Senator Kerry to...

Exiting Iraq

On November 3, whether the president-elect is John Kerry or George W. Bush, popular pressure for the United States to withdraw from Iraq will increase dramatically. If it's Bush, much of the anger that coalesced behind Kerry will convert to a new antiwar movement of a breadth not seen since Vietnam. If it's Kerry, he could face a split in his own party. A great many Democrats, united behind the goal of ousting Bush, are too polite to say that they're not wild about Kerry's proposed Iraq policy, either. The antiwar sentiment among Democrats powering Howard Dean's candidacy was deep and real. That Dean couldn't convert it to a nomination was merely a personal failure. Since then the situation in Iraq has only worsened. And though Kerry, unlike Bush, has at least promised to get the troops out within four years, that will seem an awfully long time as GIs keep getting killed and Iraq moves no closer to stability. Indeed, as the months and years stretch on, the National Guard, reservists,...

Rethinking Free Trade

When Paul Samuelson, the dean of American economists, begins questioning the benefits of free trade, it is a bit like the pope having doubts about the virgin birth. But Samuelson, a Nobel laureate and the author of America's best-known economics textbook, has reopened a debate on the most settled issue in economics. He's done it with a stunner of an article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives that has created immense controversy -- and an opportunity for Americans to rethink previously unchallenged assumptions. Until now, any politician who questioned the universal benefits of free trade was ridiculed as a flat-earth type or a stooge for some declining industry or overpaid union whose work was best performed by lower-wage workers overseas so other U.S. consumers could benefit. This foreclosed a whole range of policy questions from debate. Ever since the economist David Ricardo offered the basic theory in 1817, economic scripture has taught that open trade, free of tariffs, quotas...

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